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A house fit for an ex-president; focus on hocus-pocus

Jan 23 (ST) Real estate dealer and former diplomat A.S.P. Liyanage who offered one of his houses to former President Rajapaksa, until he was provided accommodation by the State, was yesterday awaiting police assistance to clear up a swimming pool filled with sand, following speculation that it contained gold and cash, on the superstitious beliefs of the former President. Mr Liyanage was summoned to the Welikada police station more..

'Over 11,970 litres of diesel leaked in to Nilwala'

Jan 23 (DN) Over 11,970 litres of diesel have leaked into the Nilwala River from the under ground stock tank of a filling station in Akuressa recently, disclosed CEA officials at the District Development Committee meeting at the District Secretariat Matara. After it was revealed that waste water and excreta were released into the Nilwala River upstream from where drinking water to Matara and it's suburbs are pumped, the co-chairmen instructed officials to investigate the allegations and more..

Lifting of sanctions on Iran unlikely to benefit Sri Lanka immediately

Jan 23 (Island) Lifting of sanctions on Iran would not give immediate benefits to SL, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. He said that though the economic sanctions on Iran had been lifted, the boosting of the economic transactions would depend on the buying power of the Iranian people. He explained that it was unrealistic to expect immediate benefits as Teheran needed sometime to re-start the banking transactions and re-arranging and re-opening of imports from countries like SL. more..

Garbage collection and recycling in dumps

Jan 23 (ST) Recycling household waste material collected by local councils is running into various problems due to poor planning, improper collection mechanisms and lack of public cooperation. CEA gives financial and technical support to more than 125 local authorities to implement the recycling programme. One of the main problems is that recyclable items are not separated properly at household level, more..

Sri Lanka forms panel to probe kidney racket

Jan 23 (PTI) Sri Lanka has formed a three-member panel to probe an organised organ harvesting racket involving patients and donors from India, two days after it banned kidney transplants for foreign nationals. The panel consisting of two lady doctors appointed by Minister Rajitha Senaratne has launched the probe. Its members will visit hospitals linked to the racket, officials said. Mr. Senaratne on Thursday said he had ordered a temporary ban on kidney transplant operations more..

Jayawardene Column: The problem facing SL

Jan 23 (SSL) Sri Lanka have just arrived home after a bruising tour to New Zealand and, perhaps predictably, there is lots of concern in the media and amongst the public. Defeats in the Tests, ODIs and T20s have caused alarm in some quarters, especially in the Sports Ministry and the cricket board. However, it’s important we don’t over-react and we need to put everything into perspective. The tour to New Zealand was always going to be a tough one. Very tough, in fact. more..

DNM demands vacant UNP seat

Jan 23 (Island) Democratic National Movement (DNM), led by MP Dr. Chathura Senaratne, elder son of Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, demanded that one of their nominees be appointed to the UNP national list slot that fell vacant due to the demise of Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardena. DNM General Secretary Aruna Zoysa said according to the MoU they had entered into with the UNP prior to Aug 17 General Election it should be given to them. more..

Is the Pearl up for grabs?

Jan 24 (SO) Trincomalee, we are taught in school, has one of the world's largest natural harbours. School does not teach us much more about Trincomalee even today - unless we study international affairs at university. Marginalised nature of this harbour can be seen even today when we drive past the silent, deserted waterfront with its rusting buoys and landing jetties. That such a large harbour would be a useful port for maritime transport & strategic naval deployment more..

Towards a self-reliant economy

Jan 24 (SL) Sri Lanka’s economy today looks good on paper. A growth rate of 7.3% has been predicted by the Asian Development Bank and some other foreign institutions while even The Economist (London) has projected a growth rate of 6.1%. But economic growth rates do not necessarily project the internal developments of a country. Thus, despite rosy predictions of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (growth rates above 7% for many consecutive years) the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa that more..

'New constitution a diversion to hide govt’s failures'

Jan 24 (SL) The JVP claims that the party is not against a Constitutional Assembly but the govt must make the public aware of the changes they hope to make in the Constitution. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said that although a new Constitution is not a bad thing, it should not be done to suit any particular party, but for the greater good of the whole country. However he said that good governance regime is using topic of a new Constitution, more..

Dissolution of parliament or impeachment to bring Sirisena to heel?

Jan 24 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was attending the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos while back in Colombo the stock market was setting records in the wrong direction and the promised addition of Rs. 2,500 to the basic salaries of govt servants in January failed to materialize. What conceivable advantage would Sri Lanka have by attending an event such as the World Economic Forum? One very prominent pro-UNP website described the meeting in Davos more..

Maithri in balancing act while UNP heads for LG poll victory

Jan 24 (SL) The main topic of discussion in political circles these days is the move by a group of members of the joint opposition to form a new political party to be launched at the forthcoming local govt elections. The new political party that is to be launched under the symbol of the Lotus Bud is expected to feature several senor figureheads of the SLFP. However, Sunday Leader learns that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will not join the new political movement. more..

'Govt needs to listen to the people or risk being ousted'

Jan 24 (SL) Minister Champika Ranawaka said the good governance administration has succeeded in establishing true democracy and freedom in the country. He pointed out that today people enjoy freedom to an extent that they could even criticise the govt without the fear of being killed or abducted. He said the previous regime suppressed people. This govt however has kept its promise to the people and more..

When a law prof breaks his silence

Jan 24 (ST) My dear GL, I thought I must write to you because you are in the news once again, telling us what we should do and what we should not to do in making constitutions, just when we had heaved a sigh of relief thinking that we had seen the last of you, after you didn’t make it to Parliament at the last election. Of course, even after 20 years in politics, you still believe that using big words and long sentences will impress people, so you continue in your own inimitable style more..

Davos: Dreams and realities

Jan 24 (ST) All eyes were on Davos, the picturesque Swiss town that overlooks the snow-capped Alps where at this time of the year, the world’s business hot shots try to solve the global economic problems in four days. Sri Lanka was represented by the PM no less and the big guns in the political and commercial fields. The annual event is a meeting place for the capitalists of the world to get united and discuss what has gone wrong with the world. It is dominated by the West which more..

Film: Sulanga Apa Ragena Yawi

Sammu Ashan guides Lankans to comfortable win

Jan 24 (ST) SL Under-19s recorded a comfortable 4-wicket win against NZ Under-19s in a warm up match of the ICC Youth World Cup played at the Krira Shikkha ground in Savar, Bangladesh yesterday. Put into bat New Zealand posted 204 for the loss of eight wickets while Sri Lanka chased down the victory target with 83 deliveries to spare, making a successful start in their bid to the World Cup for the Under-19s. Sri Lanka deputy skipper Sammu Ashan anchored the innings with more..

IMF: Why conditions will not be lax as in 2009

Jan 24 (CT) Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the IMF has agreed to send a delegation to Sri Lanka in the first week of February, to begin discussions on further IMF assistance to the island nation. He added the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will also send a delegation to Sri Lanka in February, to begin discussions on several investments. These were agreed during several rounds of talks more..

Whose kidney is it?

Jan 24 (SO) Following a circular banning kidney transplants on foreign nationals, the Health Ministry appointed a three- member Committee to inquire into the alleged illegal organ transplantation on foreign nationals allegedly arranged by some private Lankan hospitals with the connivance of foreign patients. At least four local private hospitals in Sri Lanka have been accused by the Indian media for allegedly arranging to more..

MR in the middle as divisive tremors hit SLFP

Jan 24 (SO) Last Thursday, President Sirisena summoned all Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers representing the SLFP to his Paget Road residence for a special discussion on the present state of affairs in the party. The move came amidst a flurry of news reports that the group supporting former President Rajapaksa was preparing to form a new political party to contest Local Govt elections. Pro-Rajapaksa group includes a section of SLFP and minor political parties of UPFA coalition, more..

The randy Sri Lankan politician

Jan 24 (SO) Cyril Wimalasurendre reporting in a daily on Monday, January 18, headlined his news item thus: A pleasure trip to Singapore turns sour for PC member of Central Provincial Council. He says the said PC Member was arrested and detained by the police following a complaint lodged by a woman that he groped her. The groping politician was of a party of 30 Provincial Councillors who went to Singapore and while the others returned, he was in prison. more..

SLFP wants Maithri to retain Executive powers

Jan 24 (CT) "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this govt cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of more..

Reflejo: Artists splash colour on Sri Lanka – Cuba relationship

Jan 24 (NF) Reflejo (Reflection in Spanish), an exhibition of Cuban and Sri Lankan artists was inaugurated at the J.D.A. Perera Gallery, of the University of Visual and Performing in Colombo on Thursday. The event is being organised by Embassy of Cuba, on the occasion of the 57th Anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution, which fell on Jan 1, this year. “My dream was to build relationships, People to people relationships, as the only way to advance forward, to make progress together more..

Committee on Constitutional Reforms: Public sittings in 24 districts

Jan 24 (SO) Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms will hold public sittings in 24 districts next month, to record oral and written submissions made to the committee by the public on the new constitution. A 20-member Committee was appointed with Cabinet approval to seek the views of the public. The first public sittings were held in Colombo last week. Public sittings will be held at District Secretariat offices on the following areas from 9.30 am to 4.30 p.m; more..

Sri Lanka urged to ensure higher women’s presence in Parliament

Jan 24 (Hindu) Sri Lanka, known for its impressive track record in human development, however, fares poorly in women’s representation in Parliament. Pointing out that there are only 10 women Members of Parliament out of a total 225 MPs, a report by Commonwealth on the 2015 general elections in SL asked govt to ensure that women’s participation is increased. “Law does not provide any quota for women’s participation more..

Tropical retreat: surfing and yoga in SL

Jan 24 (TG) When I asked Ed Templeton, co-founder of Soul & Surf, why there’s a growing trend for healthy retreats combining surfing and yoga, he said they go together so well because “both activities are all about being in the moment”. It’s easy to see why: riding on the crest of a wave is as exhilarating as it sounds; and yoga can liberate the mind and do wonders for the body. But how do you even begin to find a moment (let alone be in one) in just a week, when you are an out-of-shape more..

Economic woes and local elections

Jan 24 (Island) There is no escaping the reality that the national economy, for a variety of reasons, is in deep trouble. The concerned authorities, with local govt elections looming in the horizon, are least likely to adopt needed corrective measures. This was clearly seen with the govt abjectly caving into demands that several revenue generating budget proposals be abandoned. Very little of the budget was left as a result. As was done before the parliamentary election last August, more..

SLC’s downsizing programme on the way

Jan 24 (ST) The new administration of Sri Lanka Cricket is taking a serious look at its various components and is also considering at ways to make the whole cartwheel more manageable. The hierarchy of the Lankan cricket administration has carved itself into six pillars so that each top administrator would be in-charge of one important channel. President Thilanga Sumathipala will be in charge of Development, more..

VIP Shuttlers parachuted into SAG team

Jan 24 (CT) Ceylon Today reliably learns that arrangements have almost been finalized to include Sri Lanka's VIP shuttlers brothers Niluka and Dinuka Karunaratne, for the SAG team despite their bailing out of the selection trials. The Karunaratne brothers who didn't feature in the selection trials were omitted from the SAG squad by the Badminton Federation (SLBF). It is understood they had later appealed to Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara regarding their omission. more..

Indian athletes pose biggest threat

Jan 24 (CT) 69 athletes and 20 officials have been included in the Sri Lankan contingent for the South Asian Games, (also known as the Regional Olympics) which is scheduled to be held after 6 years in Assam, India from 5 to 16 Feb. Throughout its history athletics has been the sport which has won the most number of medals for Sri Lanka, including more than 50% of SAG Gold medals, and they will look to maintain that record further. But the much improved Indians are expected to give more..

Minister messes up match-fixing probe

Jan 24 (ST) Foot-in-the-mouth is a common ailment afflicting especially the glory-seeking gentry by the Diyawanna Lake. Latest victim of this communicable disease seems to be Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera who, apparently, has carried the ill effects of his ailment to a segment of the national cricketers. At the turn of the New Year, Minister Jayasekera complained to FCID that two SLC support staff had approached cricketers more..

The darkest era of our cricket

Jan 24 (Island) Sri Lankan cricket has become the laughing stock in the world. Gone are the days when we used to have world’s number one ranked batsman and number one ranked bowler. Our spinners aren’t capable anymore to humble world’s formidable batting line-ups. Gone are the days our teams used to adapt so well in alien conditions. Gone are the days when we were by far Asia’s best fielding unit. Instead, we are dealing with negative headlines day in and day out. more..

Loud pre-dawn tremor shakes Achchuveli

Jan 24 (ST) A minor tremor was felt at Achchuveli in the Nawakiri areas of Jaffna yesterday morning, leaving cracks in lands, houses and wells, residents and officials said. Residents said that they experienced a vibration with a loud noise around 2 a.m. National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) Research and Risk Management Division head R.M.S Bandara said that this could be a minor tremor and the NBRO was carrying out investigations to identify the cause. more..

SL attorneys’ letters not credible: British HC

Jan 24 (ST) An officer of the British High Commission in Colombo has written to the Home Office in Britain, claiming that a vast majority of endorsement documents provided by Sri Lankan attorneys in support of local asylum seekers were not credible. This conclusion has been drawn after the migration division of British HC checked 80 asylum cases referred to it by Asylum Casework Directorate and Appeals and Litigation more..

'90% SLFPers against separate Front'

Jan 24 (SO) Denying speculation that a group of SLFP dissidents is to form a separate Front to contest the upcoming LG polls, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that 90% of SLFPers don’t want to create any rift within the party. SLFP will contest the next election under the UPFA. A vast majority of the SLFPers want to contest together, even though a few minor political parties which have aligned with the UPFA are attempting to contest separately and secure a bargaining power for their survival, more..

PRECIFAC to get Indicting Powers: New Bill circumvents AG's Dept delays?

Jan 24 (CT) PRECIFAC will shortly be vested with powers, hitherto vested with the Attorney General, to directly indict persons in Court on charges of fraud and corruption. Presidential Commission is to be so empowered by a special Act of Parliament. The new legislation will also extend PRECIFAC's mandate by five more years, a spokesman for the Commission said. Hitherto, the AG was the sole indicting authority acting under final recommendations by the Presidential Commission. more..

Two Sri Lankan study teams head to Harvard in a clear exercise of duplication

Jan 24 (ST) Sri Lanka is sending two separate teams to the world famous Harvard University to participate in one, single study course to kick off the country’s ambitious economic development track next month. However the tour by teams from PM’s Office and Finance Ministry ironically for the same 5-day programme, is raising serious questions on the cost and the need for two separate initiatives. The cost of PM’s 7-member team is entirely more..

Embilipitiya killing: AG directs CID probe: DIG's report concealed

Jan 24 (CT) ASP Ruwan Gunasekera confirmed that IGP Illangakoon had handed over the Embilipitiya investigation to Senior DIG R. Seneviratne. He however said there had been no prior deadline set for this. CID has dispatched a probe team to Embilipitiya following the AG's directive to the IGP. Earlier, Sabaragamuwa Province DIG C.D. Wickremaratne was ordered to conduct an impartial inquiry into the Embilipitiya incidents but his report has been swept under the carpet. more..

Consumers get no relief from tax hike suspension

Jan 24 (ST) Millions of consumers have been forced to fork out different 2016 budget levies though they remain suspended. These include increases in the Value Added Tax and the Nation Building Tax. President Maithripala Sirisena directed Finance Ministry Secretary R.H.S. Samaratunga to suspend these increases in the levies. This was after it was brought to his attention that the imposition of increased taxes impacted on most essential consumer items and this raised living costs. more..

Thai Mafia leader in Sri Lanka?

Jan 24 (SL) A leader of the Thai mafia who is said to have had links with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is said to have arrived in Sri Lanka, State intelligence sources claimed. Thai mafia leader had arrived in Sri Lanka with a group of mafia members, and the govt has been informed of the developments by State Intelligence Agency. The mafia group is said to be linked to PM of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra. more..